A Georgia college student says that she miraculously escaped a man who raped and kidnapped her at knifepoint by persuading him to hand over her phone.
Jaila Gladden, 19, revealed that quick thinking was critical to her rescue in her first interview with BuzzFeed News since the terrifying ordeal.
In September, the University of West Georgia student was leaving a supermarket alone in Carrollton when a man in the parking lot reportedly asked her for a lighter.
She said she didn’t have one and kept walking, but once at her car, she felt a knife pressed against her, according to BuzzFeed.
The same man who approached her moments before — later identified by authorities as Timothy Wilson — then instructed her to get inside the car.
Wilson allegedly drove to an abandoned church where he raped her outside the car.
When back in the vehicle, Wilson said he planned to rob a gas station for money and demanded she direct him to one. She convinced him that she needed her phone to look up locations.
“When he initially picked me up I was watching where he drove,” Gladden told BuzzFeed News. “He never took eyes off the road.”
With her phone back, she discreetly texted her boyfriend her location. He responded asking her why she was there.
“Kid napped,” she said in another message, according to BuzzFeed.
She was able to send him a few more one-word texts, indicating that the man had a knife and she was in her own car.
Her boyfriend contacted authorities who located the vehicle parked in Atlanta.
When Wilson saw police, he allegedly jumped in the car and sped away, causing a collision with four cars.
The alleged kidnapper then fled the scene and was arrested 10 hours later, according to police.
He faces multiple charges, including kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle and rape.
Gladden told BuzzFeed she is speaking out now to warn others and advocate for more security in parking lots.
“He’s taken a lot away from my life and it doesn’t need to happen again,” she said. “It shouldn’t have happened in the first place.